Save money on home cooling

July 6, 2009 9:50:39 AM PDT
The dog days of summer can take a bite out of your wallet, especially if you're trying to keep your home cool.

So, we turned to Jeff Gilbeaux of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers for some money-saving cooling tips.

"If you're cooling your home efficiently, you're saving energy, you're saving money of course, and as an overall goal, the city wants to reduce energy usage, " Gilbeaux says.

Among the easiest things you can do: Pull down the shades and draw the curtains to keep out the summer sun.

When the sun's not hitting your windows, keep them open, and use fans to draw hot air up and out of the house.

But don't use exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom for too long if your house is air-conditioned.

"In one hour, it can empty the whole house of all your conditioned air," Gilbeaux says of exhaust fans.

Also, if you have A/C, consider installing programmable thermostats to keep the house a bit warmer if you're not at home.

Gilbeaux suggests programming the thermostat at 74 degrees when you're at home and 78 to 80 degrees when you're not.

Also, make sure your filters are cleaned or replaced once a month and that your vents don't have any obstructions in front of them.

If you have a flat-roofed rowhome, consider painting the roof white to reflect the sun's heat and glare.

And don't forget to turn off lights you don't need, especially if you're still using incandescent bulbs, which produce heat.

Finally, you might want to consider replacing drafty window or older model air conditioners. You may even qualify for a federal energy tax credit. For more information on the tax credits, click here.

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